Ford Puma plans for 2001

BIRMINGHAM, England, January 11, 2001 - Rapid Fit, the Ford Motor Company's 'walk-in' fast-fit dealership service operation, is supporting a team of two Ford Puma Super 1600 rally cars, prepared and operated by Boreham-based Ford Racing, in ...

Ford Puma plans for 2001

BIRMINGHAM, England, January 11, 2001 - Rapid Fit, the Ford Motor Company's 'walk-in' fast-fit dealership service operation, is supporting a team of two Ford Puma Super 1600 rally cars, prepared and operated by Boreham-based Ford Racing, in Britain's new eight-round Formula Rally series for 2001.

Close competition for the 2001 Formula Rally title between manufacturer teams is expected, and the quality of the crews chosen to drive the Rapid Fit-supported Puma Super 1600s reflects this. French driver Patrick Magaud and his co-driver Guylène Brun have class-winning event experience in similar Puma rally cars in 1999 and 2000. The second Rapid Fit Puma will be piloted by 1998 British Rally Champion Martin Rowe, also class-winner with Puma in 2000, co-driven by the experienced Briton, Chris Wood.

Last year, Rowe worked closely with Boreham, Essex-based Ford Racing to develop the 1600cc Puma rally car, and Ford Racing will prepare and run the Rapid Fit-supported Puma Super 1600s throughout the 2001 Formula Rally series. Like the official Ford Focus RS World Rally Cars, the Rapid Fit Puma Super 1600s will run on Pirelli tyres, as will Ford Racing's 'one-make' Ka Rally and Puma 1400 Championships, which also contest the Formula Rally series of events.

The Puma Super 1600 is a close derivative of the Puma Kit Car, campaigned with success by Magaud and Rowe last year. Super 1600 is a new FIA car category for 2001, designed primarily to provide private drivers with a showcase championship within the World Rally Championship from which works team managers will be able to view new driving talent.

Specific 'restrictions' in the Super 1600 technical regulations are aimed squarely at blocking possible cost escalations. However, the performance of a 2001 Super 1600 car compared to that of a 1600cc car built to the Kit Car regulations is not strikingly inferior. Engineering Manager, Ford Racing, Philip Dunabin explains: "As the top category for the Formula Rally series, Super 1600 is particularly apt, serving Ford's rallying Ladder of Opportunity philosophy as a British rally series from which successful drivers can aspire logically to driving in the World Rally Championship."

The Formula Rally 2001 series of eight one-day rallies will be televised on Channel 4 and Sky, and Rapid Fit will be supporting its cars with on-event promotions.

<pre> CALENDAR - Formula Rally 2001 10 March / Wrexham Rally. 28 April / Pirelli Carlisle Rally. 9 June / Scottish National Rally. 7 July / Cardiff Rally. 26 August / Rally of Ireland. 29 September / York Rally. 13 October / Rally of Kent. 3 November / Oxford Rally.

BIOGRAPHY: MARTIN ROWE Date of birth: 24.06.71, Plymouth, UK Lives: Aston Le Walls, Northants, England Marital Status: Single Career highlights: 1994 British Open Rally Championship - Group N Champion 1998 British Rally Championship - Champion Rallying history: 1991 Won Manx Stage Rally Championship (Mk2 Escort) Runner-up in Group N2 on the Manx International Rally 1992 Won Peugeot Challenge with four of 10 rounds still remaining, rewarded with a Shell Scholarship for 1993-94 1993 Fifth in Mintex National Rally Championship and runner-up in Group N 1994 Won British Open Rally Championship Group N title, four wins and three runner-up finishes. World Championship debut, fifth in Formula 2 on RAC Rally 1995 Works driver for Peugeot Sport in Mobil 1 Top Gear British Rally Championship 1996 Scored VW's best result of year with second in 2-litre division and fourth overall on Manx International Rally 1997 Victory on final round of British Rally Championship, his home event the Manx International, to claim runner-up position in series (Renault) 1998 British Rally Champion in his second season with Renault. Victories on the Welsh, Scottish, Pirelli and Manx Rallies. World Rally Championship - 14th overall and sixth in Formula 2 on Tour of Corsica, retired from Sanremo and Rally GB 1999 Third overall in British Rally Championship, despite two retirements. Won Welsh and Manx rounds and was runner-up on Jim Clark and Scottish Rallies. World Rally Championship: Portugal, Corsica, Finland, Sanremo and Australia Rallies. Best results: second in Two-Litre Cup in Finland and Australia. Third in class in Corsica and Sanremo 2000 Development testing and promotional events for Ford Racing. Jim Clark Rally, first in 1600 class, Ford Puma Kit Car

BIOGRAPHY: PATRICK MAGAUD

Date of birth: 01.01.59, Digne (France) Lives: Barrême (France) Marital status: Single Career highlights: 1997 Second in French Rally Championship for drivers Rallying history: 1983 First event: Alpin Behra Rally, first in class 1987 Monte-Carlo Rally, 1st in class, second in Group N 1988 Antibes Rally, first in class 1989 French Rally Championship (second division), eight class wins French Gravel Rally Championship, four class wins French Rally Championship, one class win. Winner of Citroën Total Michelin National Trophy 1990 Winner of Citroën Total Michelin National Trophy 1991-92 French Rally Championship, first in class in Alsace, Corsica and Mont-Blanc Rallies 1993-94 French Rally Championship 1995-96 Test driver for Citroën Sport 1997 Official driver for 'Citroën Network', first in class in Lyon-Charbonnières, Corsica, Rouergue, Mont-Blanc, Limousin, Le Touquet, Antibes, Cevennes and Var Rallies. First overall Ronde Cevenole. French Rally Vice Champion 1998 French Rally Championship, second overall Limousin, Rouergue, Mont-Blanc Rallies. Third in Championship 1999 French Rally Championship. World Rally Championship, class win in Catalonia in Ford Puma 1600 Kit Car 2000 Test and development driver for Citroën Sport. World Rally Championship in Ford Puma 1600 Kit Car, Catalonia, Portugal, Corsica, Sanremo, Great Britain

-Ford Racing-

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